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Interview with Juan Manuel de Prada

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The writer Juan Manuel de Prada has been in charge of leading the conference on Spanish in the media organized by the Castilian and Leonese Institute of Language in the Experimental Zorrilla Theatre Hall in Valladolid, a place, as he said, which revived on him his times of "frustrated theatre vocation." The deterioration of the Castilian and their possible motives spoke before his speech to the Foundation of the Spanish Language in this interview.

Beatriz Hernández Bilbao

Alba P. Villarragut

It is the topic of the conference you are going to chair, thus it is an unavoidable question, and how is the media using the Spanish language?

The media are a mirror of reality, then the idea that language is created by media and those media are contributing to the deterioration of the speakers and so forth so on... I think that is a lie, language is something that always comes from people; however, it is true that there is a worsening of language.
What is the cause of this worsening?
Basically, I think it is because of the changes in our lifes, we are destroying our way of life, our life is a kind of artificial life, which is becoming more autistic, it is becoming a life with a narrow vital prospect... and that impoverishes language. I think the loss of the sense of nature impoverishes and kills the language Delibes was quite clear about that.
How can we assess journalism nowadays?
Journalism is going through a very bad moment because there is a process in which the media are changing very quickly, audiences of the media are becoming smaller and this is putting the journalist in a growing difficult labour situation more precarious, it is almost an exploitation situation, or just "exploitation." 
Then, we  assume that this will have a negative impact on the professional journalists' work...
This makes the journalist no longer works as he used to work, because they can not specialize, there is no time to prepare an interview, there is no time to prepare a report properly ... and this worsening this occupation.
And to that extent, is this impairing the language?
Yes, but not because journalists are illiterate, not at all, what they are true pariahs. Then, we are talking about poor working conditions, the rush, huge amounts of work... This is the situation, and it is a very serious situation. There is, for example, a term which has been coined, "mileurista" refering to people who are earn less than 1,000 Euros, but I know many journalists who are not even mileuristas, then of course, the situation is terrible ...
What is the solution? Should we change the model of work?
The problem is that I do not know if it is going to change, because it would be a radical social change. This is called the "information society", according to which we have to be bombarded with information from two hundred different sites, which is generating a great fragmentation of the media, more and more media, but since they are growing in their number, their audiences are dwindling and then the problem with this obsession appears because you have to be constantly keeping a constant flow of information, haven't you? That's a little absurd because then, people receive the information provided by the journalist but they can digest it and the journalist becomes a slave. For example the newspaper reporter he must first prepare the news for the Internet, then he has to develop the newspaper's news, then he has to refresh the news in the Internet for as the day goes by several things my happen ... It's crazy. And as long as that does not change Castilian will remain one of the losers.
Translated by Miguel San José 

 


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